WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Titans Season 2 episode "E.L._.O.," streaming now on DC Universe.
The DC Universe has had its fair share of deadbeat dads. Digging into the Young Justice archives, you'll find Superman being an absent father and overall prick in the early seasons towards Superboy/Conner Kent, and when it comes to Batman, well, you can canvas the plethora of cartoons and animated movies that remind us he doesn't fare too well in this department either.
However, if you're looking for the universe's biggest deadbeat dad, and DC's most abysmal depiction of a father to his vigilante sons, look no further than Iain Glen's Bruce Wayne on DCU's Titans.
This iteration of the Dark Knight easily takes the cake for the most negligent and uncaring father-figure ever, made even worse in the interjections he makes when it comes to his nest of Robins. Firstly, Bruce has severely mishandled the Dick Grayson situation since Season 1. The first Boy Wonder made it clear he was scarred by his mentor's violent methods but Bruce didn't even acknowledge his former partner had PTSD or simply wasn't battle-ready after this trauma. Now, the second season sees all this mental strain accumulating and the levees breaking, leading to Dick accosting officers at an airport and ending up in jail. Shockingly, at no point does Bruce pay a visit or use his influence to try to contact him and understand the situation. Seeing as Bruce has technological powers up the wazoo, it's crazy that he doesn't even hack the P.A. system to deliver some coded message of reassurance to Dick.
What's worse is Bruce should have seen Dick's breakdown coming from a mile away, yet he never keeps track of the situations that build to it. Again, with his tech he could have at least been storing information in secret but either Dick kept this debacle a secret or Bruce didn't care for the Slade Wilson feud. Seeing him reaching out to the female Titans, though, kind of has us leaning towards the latter because it's one thing to trust your protege but another to throw them to the wolves and not keep a watchful eye in case things go awry.
Secondly, when it comes to the Jason Todd intervention, Bruce has also been a hot mess. We never see him addressing how Slade almost killed the boy, making the Bat come off as cold and totally opposite to what we read in the Death in the Family arc in the '90s when he was heartbroken over Joker killing the young Robin. But even prior to that, Bruce treats Jason like a chore and an unwanted obligation, palming him off to a clearly unprepared Dick to turn into an apprentice. Even when Dick goes haywire and Jason runs away following the Jericho revelation, Bruce doesn't even reach out and track the unstable kid down. It's even worse as he knows Jason is an aggressive, foul-mouthed, cop-hunting liability that could bring down his entire crime-fighting empire.
Seeing Bruce look to the female Titans to save the day basically emphasizes he doesn't care for Jason. His reach should have let him know the boy's running around with another danger in Rose, yet Bruce conveniently doesn't even address this. It shows just how little Jason matters to him, as Bruce doesn't bat an eye with him traipsing around, beating thugs with another unstable teen. Bruce instead wants the women to rescue Beast Boy and Superboy while ignoring the plight of the Robins completely. Whether or not they want his help is of no concern, as a good father would know what to do in such desperate times. Heck, he doesn't even offer Dick advice after Aqualad's death, which is unfortunate because Robin lost, not just a teammate, but one of his closest friends.
Ultimately, Bruce seems to treat these sidekicks like a video game, switching feelings on and off on a whim and a fancy, leaving them in scenarios they're ill-equipped to handle. It's not tough love, it's incompetence as Bruce doesn't relate to or empathize with his boys, making him a pass-the-buck dad who has no clear rationale for why he hired or trained the Robins, and also, for what he intended them to be. There's a fine line between being a hard-ass and a dick, and right now, Bruce is erring on the side of the latter.
Streaming now on DC Universe, Titans Season 2 stars Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson, Anna Diop as Kory Anders, Teagan Croft as Rachel Roth, Ryan Potter as Garfield Logan, Curran Walters as Jason Todd and Conor Leslie as Donna Troy, with Minka Kelly as Dawn Granger, Alan Ritchson as Hank Hall, Joshua Orpin as Superboy, Chelsea Zhang as Rose Wilson, Chella Man as Jericho, Drew Van Acker as Aqualad, Esai Morales as Deathstroke and Iain Glen as Bruce Wayne.